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human shields? let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start with this. "80% of life," woody allen once said, "is showing up." i've been watching this compelling capitol hill invasion of family, relatives and friends of those killed in newtown, connecticut. and we'll know soon if this will be the difference between action on gun safety and doing nothing. and when we do, we'll have a new estimate of what happens when
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regular people get out there and lobby congress. right there, where it works. what's different, of course, is is these people are the ones most personally and permanently affected by the ability of the wrong people getting their hands on guns. i remember the old argument. guns don't kill people, people do. and that's where senator pat toomey is right. a wider, stronger background check covering all commercial purchasers of guns is not really about what kinds of guns are out there, and what could be sold, it's about the people out there and who shouldn't have their hands on any gun. and this is where the battle for better background checks stands. right now. can the supporters of gun safety get 50 votes in the senate on the background check, itself? can they get 60 votes to clear a filibuster? can they get the one vote, the speaker of the house, to schedule the vote in the house? can they get 218 votes in the house to actually pass it? then, of course, get the signature of the president to make it law? so these are the numbers.
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50. 60. one. 218. and one. five gates to pass through for us to have a stronger background check to become part of the law. pia carusone is former chief of staff to congresswoman gabby giffords and now runs the group, americans for responsible solutions. and nia malika henderson is a political reporter for the "washington post." it just struck me this afternoon to hear rush limbaugh refers to the people who have come to capitol hill and are wonderfully moving around the hill right now with their wonderful green ribbons, he calls them human shields. in other words, they're just sort of props. >> well, i don't know that we can take seriously anything rush limbaugh said recently. >> you have to take it seriously because he has a bunch of naybobs and dittoheads out there who do. >> that's fair enough. the victims of newtown, it's impossible to call them shields. they are the faces of this tragedy. and they're the ones out there telling lawmakers to do something about it and to show the courage and do the right thing. >> do you think it's working? >> yeah. >> tell me how. >> we've had a great week. you know, last week the washington press was writing the
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obituary of the background check. fair and square, they were saying it's dead. this week we have one of the most conservative republicans in the senate agreeing to a deal. i mean, the momentum is with us, so whether it's the work of the victims of gun violence -- >> you have two republicans. how many do you need? >> we'd like a strong showing. >> can you get 50? 60? >> i think so. we have a shot. we're appealing to their morals. if that doesn't work, we'll appeal to their political -- >> you have 52 democrats. you need seven republicans, to be blunt about, it to clear a filibuster. >> yes, we cleared the filibuster. >> to begin the debate. >> exactly. but we're not looking for 60. we're looking for a lot more than that. >> i'm worried about getting the 60, not getting a lot more than that. you're so frisky about this. you're already talking about more than 60. >> we're headed to the house.
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the house is goal. >> i think there are pickups you can look at. mark kirk -- >> he's already on my list. i counted him. >> you counted him. susan collins. maybe even john mccain you have. harry reid released a video that looked at five republicans already been on record to being open to background checks. i think, you know, there is optimism. i think she's right the pendulum swing began this week. i mean, we -- >> i agree that's a movement. the more excitement, the better. >> over the last 20 years the nra dominated this debate. now i think we're at the beginning -- >> got to win the senate, got to beat the next filibuster attempt. there's going to be another filibuster. you have to get boehner to have the nerve, the guts, whatever you want to call it, to bring it up in the house and get the 218 in the house and allow him to break the hastert rule. you're not going to have a majority of republicans. you're going to have to get some republicans to add up to the democrat total. some democrats from rocky mountain, certain states are going to have a hard time with this. let's take a look at what rush limbaugh said. i find this pretty offensive. let's watch. >> it was the president who asked for this mother of a 6-year-old who died to do his speech. senator richard blumenthal, democrat, connecticut, is using sandy hook to raise money in his e-mails. they're trying to turn the
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newtown parents into a dozen cindy sheehans in a way. and it's what the democrats do, folks. they always try to hide their agendas behind women and children and most of all, victims. and so the newtown parents are human shields, in a sense. the newtown parents are out there to protect the democrats from any criticism and to shut it down. >> i like the way he does this. didn't you notice as a woman, he's assuming that men are putting you people up? >> oh, i know. >> you don't look put up to me. >> and i mean, certainly with these families, this is what they want to do. they talk about wanting to be in this conversation to carry on the legacies of their dead 6 and 7-year-olds who they'll never see again. >> nobody put cindy sheehan up
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to anything. cindy sheehan lost her son to the war. >> people came around to feeling the exact same thing, cindy sheehan about that war. it looks like these families have a similar affect. and they are a clarifying, i think, presence and voice and remind us why we are here. >> well said. "politico" reported today on those sandy hook families. in a story headline "victims turned lobbyists." they wrote "when a lobbyist for families of newtown shooting victims called the office of senator susan collins, to set up a meeting, the first was a standard d.c. offer, they'd get a meeting with her staff and a quick simple hello from the senator, herself. they were told, the family's answer, not good enough. according to lobbyists the families have a rule against staff-only meetings. they won't do them. they insist on sitting down with senators, themselves." i know a lot of highly paid lobbyists would like this deal. usually you see them sitting next to some young kid trying to make their point.
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>> it's important as a former house chief of staff, i would say if a family member of a deceased came in looking for a meeting, we would take that. i think it's disrespectful to put it at the staff level. personally, out of respect, at least, if you disagree on the policy, show the respect to the family and meet face to face. >> wow. >> i think this has changed in some ways. i think initially for reasons you can imagine, the families weren't really out there as much. but this flood of activity that you see, they're on the air as well with ads i think sponsored by mayors against guns. so i think they have been more effective than bloomberg's money because they -- >> i think it's a little too much professionalism with mike. i mean, mike is obviously, has many interests. >> that's right. >> they're good interests. >> he's been fighting this battle for a long time. >> earlier today west virginia senator joe manchin fought back against right-wing fears that more background checks would mean a national database of gun owners.
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here was his response. >> it's absolutely totally false, and anybody that's saying that is just basically skewering or lying to people. the law today, rick, is you cannot do a registry. if you go to a gun dealer today, he has to keep a record, or she has to keep a record. if it's used for a registration, it's against the law. in our bill, we make it a felony and 15 years of imprisonment. if people would go to and read for themselves, pat toomey and i would not be involved in this bill if it infringed on anybody's rights. >> the arguments made by the second amendment people, not just hunters, real true second amendment people is, we don't want a national registry. they stay, if you register, they're going to collect. i'm not sure whatever has been collected in history once it's been registered. their argument is the united states has a history.
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it's a faulty reality portrayed in texas schoolbooks. that's where ted cruz got it, somebody told me the other day. your thoughts. where do they get this idea if you try to buy a gun and buy a gun, somebody is going to write down a list and file that with the federal government? >> i don't know how someone would believe the federal government would go around, first of all being able to go around to all the ffls in this country and collect that data. >> ffl? >> licensed firearm dealer. collect the data and then eventually collect the guns. i don't know, but you know, the point is no one is talking about a registry. not republicans, not democrats. no serious -- coming up, the right wing sends out this warning to the gop. give in on gay marriage and we can give up on you. the rnc approved a resolution opposing gay marriage. 326. that's the number of leg tors adding to the burden of someone deciding to have an abortion. and they are m coming up with other ways to make it harder.
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and jon stewart points out that republicans have been champions for voting rights of african-americans. as long as you don't look at the last 15 years. this is hardball. the place for politics. blast of cold feels nice. why don't you use bengay zero degrees? it's the one you store in the freezer. same medicated pain reliever used by physical therapists. that's chilly! [ male announcer ] bengay zero degrees. freeze and move on.
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welcome back to hardball. the republican part released an autopsy report saying it needed to be more tolerant. that was a word, and inclusive, another word. that's not what the cultural right in the party wants to hear. they began fighting back. hard. rick santorum said the gop supporting gay marriage would be suicidal. the family research council tony perkins told supporters to stop
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donating until the party got its act together on this issue. then today it seems like the rnc listened. conservatives passed a resolution today declaring "the republican national committee affirms its support for marriage as a union of one man and one woman. as the opt much environment in which to raise healthy children for the future of america. and be it further resolved the republican national committee implores the u.s. supreme court to uphold the sanctity of marriage in its rulings on california's prop 8 and the federal defense of marriage act." well, this civil war within the gop obviously is raging right now. but can a party vehemently against gay marriage win in a country where a majority of people across the board support gay marriage? robin armstrong, republican national committeeman from texas, gregory angelo executive director of the log cabin republicans. gentlemen, this is sort of an amazing thing to watch right now because you've got these couple of strains in republican party which are real, traditional and valid. you've got the libertarian strain which goes back to barry goldwater, live and let live.
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at the end of his life he was pro gay rights, pro abortion rights, basically live and let live. you have the strong church part of the party. the religious cultural right which has given the party all its votes in the last 20 or 30 years starting with the prayer issue back in '61. let me ask you, dr. robin armstrong, thank you for joining. let me ask you, which is the strongest strain in your history? is it libertarianism or sort of orthodox cultural values? >> i think it's a combination of both. >> well, that combination ain't working right now. >> we're talking about, i'll i'll tell you what we're talking about in our party is having a big tent. we allow everyone in. we are very -- actually we're the tolerant party. we allow, you know, people who are pro-choice in our party. we allow people to come in who are in favor of homosexual marriage. i know mr. angelo is a log cabin republican.
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he is a republican, a strong republican. all we're saying is, listen, we affirm marriage is between one man and one woman. we believe that. we're not going to compromise that value. that is what we believe. but -- >> ever. you're never going to compromise? no, let me get this straight. doctor, let me get this straight. >> sure. >> i want to get your phrasing here. are you ever, ever going to be open to the door of changing that position, or is it permanent with your party? >> i am saying right now that we -- >> right now. >> -- are not going to compromise -- >> right now. >> we're not going to compromise that value and we do not plan on compromising that value in the future. ever. >> so you think it's a permanent value? >> but -- but what i am saying is, what i'm saying is, if we agreed with someone on 80% of issues, and we disagree on 20% of issues, they're still welcome in our party. we will still accept them in our party. we're not going to throw away the 20%. we don't have to have 100%
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purity. our party, and our platform, uphold the fact that marriage is between one man and one woman and that's where we stand. >> would you be against a group that's against civil rights for african-americans, that 20%, would that be enough to stop out from joining the party? >> absolutely not. >> would it stop you from joining the republican party? you would join a party that didn't believe in civil rights for african-americans? >> what you're trying to do is trying to equate the issue of homosexual marriage. >> i'm only asking the question because i'm going to ask the same question to gregory. >> i am telling you that republicans led the civil rights movement. abraham lincoln was a republican. so i don't accept the premise of your question. i believe wholeheartedly that most americans, today, agree that marriage is between one man and one woman. republican party will stand on that platform. >> well, let me just go through the latest polling. 53%, sir, do believe, they support same-sex marriage. 42% oppose. in your party, perhaps in your
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world, politically, 66% of republicans do oppose. but you just threw out a line there that's not true. most americans support same-sex marriage now, sir. >> well, you know, i'll tell you, i believe that it depends on how the wording is phrased, how the poll is phrased. >> how is this question, do you favor or oppose allowing same-sex marriages? people said, yes, they favor it. let me go over to gregory here. how do you like being in a political party that figures you're just the 20% problem? your issues matter a lot to you, i assume, don't count in the big 80%. as if that's the same 80%. if you're gay and care about equality of marriage, that's a lot bigger than 20%. >> this was pointed out perhaps no clearer than in the letter that came out yesterday addressed to the rnc. a lot pointed specifically to log cabin republicans saying proof the republican party is open and a big tent party is
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acknowledging the fact log cabin republicans exist here. we're not a part of the party because of its stance on so-called traditional marriage. in fact, we're part of the party in spite of that. >> i know. >> we agree -- >> does it bother you when you hear a gentleman like mr. armstrong, a party chair or committeeman say this is essential to the party's belief, this is something that isn't going to change in the foreseeable future? isn't going to change? is essential? how can opposition to same-sex marriage be essential to being a republican? >> you're asking the wrong guy. you can be a republican and be supportive for marriage equality for gay individuals. the party platform in 2012 stated marriage is between one man and one woman did not stop senator portman from evolving on this issue. >> is it going to let the party evolve, though? will the party ever evolve? >> the party is evolving regardless of what the platform says. right now you have congressmen, you have republicans around the country coming out across the country for the freedom to marry. more and more republicans are understanding the importance of becoming more welcome and accepting of gay individuals.
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>> you believe everything -- let me go back to dr. armstrong. do you believe the party is going in the same direction? seems to me there's a lot of people in the party upset about the possibility your party might go toward support for same sex and basically put out the resolution today saying the party as a whole has said it's not going to happen. is there not a libertarian strain out there in your party led by rand paul and people like that who definitely are going in another direction? they're going in a different direction. they're not differing with you. they're heading someone. >> we welcome them in our party they are far of the republican party. i think this is an illustration of how intolerant democrats are, how intolerant liberals are of other viewpoints. you don't have to agree with me on 100% of viewpoints to be part of this party. >> let me ask you about the ruling percentage of this party. this idea of percentages is helpful.
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it misses the same point. if rick santorum were the nominee of the party, he won iowa caucuses last year, he could win them again next year, next time. if he were the nominee, he'd say, sorry, this is where i get off the bus. whatever, you know, what will be, will be. if you got a nominee like this guy who says, let's go back and look at contraception. the weird thing he did equating bestiality and homosexuality. whole way he talks about people who are gay. i don't see how you could cheer him as a nominee for president. would you, gregory? would you support rick santorum? would you support him as nominee? >> it would be extremely difficult for me to support rick santorum. >> are you saying you could support him? >> everybody can evolve. i'd encourage rick santorum to evolve on this issue. >> you really believe in evolution? >> of course i believe in evolution. we leave no stone unturned at lob cabin republicans. some of the most rock ribbed social conservatives are the people most interested in finding out more about the work we're doing in this organization.
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one thing i point out to dr. armstrong i think is really he will be joined by gillibrand. up next, rand paul couldn't convince them that republicans and he couldn't convince jon stewart either. this is hardball. the place for politics. 
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ha! back to "hardball." now to the sideshow. earlier this week i told you about rand paul's effort to reach out to minority voters by giving a speech at the historically black howard university here in washington. well, not everyone would call his speech a smashing success. here's jon stewart with a recap. >> we see horrible jim crow and horrible racism that happened in the '30s, '40s, '50s.
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it was all democrats. it wasn't republicans. >> right. but for the most part, those bigoted democrats of the '30s, '40s and '50s became republicans post the modern civil rights era. because of it. so you can't just yadda, yadda, yadda the last 60 republican years. the problem with this theory that all that stands between the republicans and a plurality of the black vote is a history lesson is, well, enjoy. >> if i would have said who do you think the founders of the naacp are, do you think they were republicans or democrats? would everybody in here know they were all republicans? >> yes. >> all right. all right. you know more than i know. i don't mean that to be insulting. i don't know what you know. i'm trying to find out what the connection is. >> calm down, everybody. just calm down. red team, start the car. remove the vanilla bean from the hot chocolate. red team.
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>> anyway, the senator also got stuck at one point trying to convince the audience he did, in fact, support the civil rights act of '64. [ male announcer ] there are only so many foods that make kids happy. and even fewer that make moms happy too. with wholesome noodles and bite sized chicken, nothing brings you together like chicken noodle soup from campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do.
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Hardball Weekend
MSNBC April 13, 2013 2:00am-2:30am PDT

News/Business. The best of 'Hardball With Chris Matthews.'

TOPIC FREQUENCY Rick Santorum 5, Washington 4, Jon Stewart 3, Us 3, Cindy Sheehan 3, Campbell 3, Geico 2, Connecticut 2, Sandy 2, Limbaugh 2, Pat Toomey 2, Dr. Armstrong 2, Susan Collins 2, Texas 2, Gillibrand 1, Virginia 1, Germy Dishcloth 1, Union 1, Rnc 1, Uncontrollable Lahtuger 1
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